Green convinces Hanover to use two poll sites

HANOVER – Talk of cost savings Monday convinced a majority of the Hanover Town Board to allow the reduction of poll sites in the town.

County Democratic Elections Commissioner Norman Green presented his argument to the town board why the number of poll sites should be reduced from four to two.

“We are looking for money, like most entities. We are looking for cheaper and more cost effective ways to do things,” he said. “But we are always trying to make sure voters are not disenfranchised by any changes.”

He said Hanover is one of the last towns in the county to have its poll sites reduced, saying Busti has two sites, the town of Westfield only has one and Pomfret has three.

Hanover has four poll sites; Forestville Municipal Building, Mt. Carmel auditorium, Silver Creek Central School and the Goodell Building. The board of election’s proposal reduces the poll sites by two, with Forestville poll site voters unchanged and SCCS’s and the Goodell Building’s voters going to Mt. Carmel. At the last town board meeting, the board decided there should be at least three poll sites in the town.

Green said a major motivating factor in proposing this reduction now was the village of Silver Creek changing its election to November.

“This will only save $2,000 or $3,000 but when you multiply that per town, per election, it adds up. We are one of the most efficient board of elections in the state because we do things like this. … Our budget now is smaller than when we took over the town elections in 2005. This all has to do with economics,” he said.

He also mentioned handicap accessibility issues with the Goodell Building, the Irving poll site, and the board of election’s push to pull out of school voting locations.

Planning Board Chair Carol DePasquale asked if the reduction in poll sites could be done one at a time.

“We could delay it, but I absolutely believe this will work. … Brian (Abram) and I have been talking about this for a few years now; we have thought this through,” he said.

Councilman Wayne Ashley asked why Green attended the meeting to ask for the board’s permission when the board of elections will go forward with it anyway.

“We voted on this at the last meeting,” he pointed out.

However, the other councilmen were convinced by Green’s argument of saving money.

“I am impressed with that part of it. We need more people thinking about saving money in government,” Councilman Kenneth Cross said. “I have changed poll sites four times and I’ve survived.”

The other councilmen and supervisor agreed, given that work would be done to accommodate the increased number of voters at Mt. Carmel and mailers would go out to reduce confusion for residents.

The next election in the town will be the mid-term election in November.

The next town board meeting will be May 12 at 7:30 p.m. with a workshop at 6:30 p.m. There will be a public hearing at 7:45 p.m. on a local law for accepting the “best value” from competitive bids.